Inspirational Woman: Deborah Mitchell | Founder, Heaven Skincare

Deborah Mitchell with Heaven Skincare productsAward winning beauty therapist to the stars of the big screen and to British royalty Deborah Mitchell began her career as a beauty therapist, creating her own all-natural organic product range to accompany her beauty treatments over twenty-five years ago.

Now the winner of more than 25 Stevie Awards and patent owner of Bee Venom ‘Abeetoxin®’ products, formulated for any skin type, Deborah has created products that offer the potent power of nature in perfect harmony with the latest breakthroughs in beauty technology.

Deborah is famous for creating her own all-natural organic product range which incorporates the all important and unique ingredient, bee venom.

Despite being bullied as a teenager due to her dyslexia and severe acne, the canny businesswoman turned both to her advantage. Her own troublesome skin provided the impetus to create skincare products that tackled specific complexion complaints; while she believes her dyslexia allowed her to think up ideas that other people may not even dream of. She signed up for a beauty course at her local college and became a mobile therapist at just 17, using what she learned on the job to devise her own remedies. She started blending essential oils into various creams and used them on herself before using them on clients.

From its roots in local business, Heaven is now a worldwide success, with products and treatments available nationwide and around the world in Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia, Dubai and America to name but a few.

Throughout the years, Heaven’s award-winning skincare has amassed a celebrity following for its range of products and treatments, including Victoria Beckham, Cillian Murphy, Dannii Minogue, Emilia Fox, Michelle Pfeiffer and even royalty (incl Camilla & Charles) who love the products and treatments.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I suffered from severe acne as a teenager and struggled to find products that were suitable for my skin. When I left school, I did a beauty course at my local college and became a mobile therapist by the time I was 17. I used what I learned on the job to start mixing and blending essential oils into various creams for me and then my clients, and Heaven Skincare was born from there. Over the next few years, it went from a small kitchen table operation to a business with global recognition. I have always loved looking after people and there is no better feeling than helping someone who may have suffered with a skin issue for years and I can give them their confidence back. I’m probably not your average industry boss, I’m very hands-on and I still work on counter and carry out treatments so I have the privilege of meeting my customers day to day.

What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur?

Before you start write down what you are prepared to lose – that could be time with your family or a cut in income – and if that is ok with you then go ahead and do it. If it’s something you couldn’t do then go and work for someone else. For more it was worth the sacrifices because I was building a future for my children and I don’t regret that for a second. I would also say don’t expect miracles – nothing happens overnight.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I like to be challenged all the time otherwise life would be boring. I’ve had so many challenges but that’s life and I see them as an obstacle that needs to be tackled to get to a more positive place. Many might have seen my dyslexia as a challenge but I don’t think I would have achieved everything I have without it – my brain has to work harder than other people’s but this has always helped me see things that others miss.

Deborah MitchellWhat has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’m not naturally a proud person when it comes to myself, but I am mighty proud that my daughter Ella now works with me helping to run the business day to day and making decisions alongside me. I also get a thrill from seeing how successful Heaven has become around the world – seeing my products appear in Vogue or Elle in places like China, Japan and Taiwan.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

My skincare is best known for being innovative and instant, and the fact that I have a long list of celebrity and royal clients is testament to this. We’re different to so many other brands because we use totally natural, organic ingredients that are not tested on animals; we lead the way when it comes to recycling and have never used boxes for our products; and anyone can use our range, even those with the most sensitive skin thanks to my award-winning anti-allergy formula.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

 I often give talks to students and young entrepreneurs, inspiring them to chase their goals despite the challenges they may face. I love speaking at events and it is particularly rewarding to meet budding business men and women who may just be starting their careers because it gives me a chance to revisit my roots. While they will tell me how much I inspire them to follow their dreams I am also inspired by their energy, passion and enthusiasm.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

 I would tell her not to let her acne to ruin her life or allow it to get her down so much because in a couple of years I would invent a skincare range that would help her and her skin.

What lessons have you learnt along the way?

I’m not sure if I’ve learnt any lessons! I still look at life through rose-tinted spectacles and I still think people are wonderful, just as I did when I started more than 30 years ago.

Tell me your top three Heaven products?

Can I choose four! Age Defiance Cream, my Gold Bee Venom, New Edition Cleanser and Bee Polish. They would be my desert island choices because together they would tackle all sorts of skin issues.

What is the future of the beauty industry?

There’s a real move towards more ethical skincare and being more accountable of the products we buy and use, whether that’s recyclable packaging or vegan ingredients. In fact, I spent the last four years creating a vegan version of my bee venom using nettles because I want everyone to be able to use all my products.

If someone is on a budget what should be their must-have beauty buys?

Too many people are fooled by false economy – they buy cheap and end up having to buy four times as many because the ingredients may not be great quality, they may not be good for their skin or they use them too quickly. I would always recommend going for a better quality product that is multi-functional – my Silver Bee Venom Mask, from example, slots into your daily or weekly skincare regime in a variety of different ways: apply after your cleansing routine morning and evening; leave on for ten minutes and wash off with warm water; layer on top of your daily moisturiser; combine with your favourite serum; or leave on overnight for accelerated results. Go for a little luxury and you’ll thank yourself in the long run.

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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